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Preparer Guilty of Unemployment Fraud

A former tax preparer, Christopher Niebel, has pleaded guilty to a scheme that garnered him $512,000 in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Funds. The charges were wire fried and aggravated identify theft.

Niebel, who did business as Tax Guy Chris in Allen Park, Mich., also worked seasonally as a Manager for a Party City store where he had access to the I-9 employment verification forms for those who worked at the store or had applied for work there.

In 2019, he stole forms which include data such as names, data of birth and Social Security numbers. He stole IDs of those who were not from Michigan surmising they were unlikely to to pursue unemployment assistance in that state.

Niebel opened several bank accounts to which the funds were wired and spent the money on a variety of person al items food, lodging, lottery tickets and gambling.

He faces a maximum of 20 years on the wire fraud charge and a mandatory minimum of two years for the aggravated ID charge. Any sentence for wire fraud must run consecutively with the ID charge.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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